Despite my caution my daughter is going ahead with a purchase. She is going for a flat in a large Victorian house, converted about 13 years ago. Over 900 year lease, no ground rent, but a major snag has cropped up - the freeholder cannot be contacted. Who cares was my first reaction, but then it was pointed out that the freeholder has the responsibility to enforce the covenants in the lease. So no freeholder, no easy way to ensure other leaseholders don't break the lease. Still waiting to hear from the vendors solicitor on whether the freeholder can be tracked down, but I am very tempted to advise my daughter to walk away at this point. Be interested to hear the thoughts of others on this type of situation. How can it be resolved? How much will it cost? Am I right in assuming it would be impossible to obtain a mortgage for a flat with an absent landlord?
The estate agent claimed the freehold was shared. I don't suppose there is any way to hold the estate agent to account for the costs so far incurred by this falsehood?
One other potentially major problem is that there do not appear to be building control certificates for the conversion. Planning permission and building control approval, but no final certificates. How much could it cost to sort out that little problem if the certificates cannot be found or were never issued in the first place?
Rather than walking away, I guess another possibility is to price the cost and risk of sorting all this out and making a much lower offer. I might be tempted, but not sure it is a sensible risk/hassle for my daughter.